CINCINNATI — Many of the nation’s citizen-soldiers, whose motto is “Always Ready, Always There,” won’t be at regular training drills this weekend because of a funding shortfall.

Tens of thousands of Army National Guard members from New Hampshire to Hawaii have been idled because of a $101 million gap that has led to drills being postponed and travel being suspended, National Guard spokesman Capt. John Fesler said. Meanwhile, there are efforts underway in Congress to get funding reallocated so drills can be held later this month and so Guard members will get the pay they were counting on.

Decisions to postpone or cancel drills were being made by state Guard leaders. Among states that announced they put off training exercises are Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah. Some, including Alaska, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont, planned to go ahead as scheduled. Texas authorities said Guard members already on border missions won’t be affected by the delay.

Among reasons for the shortfall are fewer Guard deployments overseas that are funded separately and higher-than-expected attendance for training.

“The National Guard is committed to resolving the issue with least impact to our citizen-soldiers and ensuring they are ready for missions whether at home or overseas,” Fesler said.

The Ohio National Guard’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurst, announced postponement in a video last week. She said drills were being rescheduled for the end of the month in hopes that funding will be available by then.

“We’re very much aware that this action will be at best an inconvenience for all of you and will have varying degrees of economic impact across the force,” Ashenhurst said. “We’re taking this action as a last resort.”

Most of the nation’s 350,000 Army Guard members are part time, and many have full-time civilian jobs. They get paid for readiness training, earning hundreds of dollars for a weekend of drills depending on their rank. They also get credits that build toward retirement benefits.


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